Is There BOOLEAN Data Type in SQL?


Heather Bennett

When working with SQL, you may come across various data types such as integer, string, date, and so on. But have you ever wondered if there is a data type specifically designed to handle boolean values in SQL? Let’s explore this topic in detail.

Boolean Data Type in SQL

In many programming languages, a boolean data type is used to represent logical values like true or false. However, SQL is a bit different. Unlike some other programming languages, SQL doesn’t have a dedicated boolean data type.

In SQL, boolean values are often represented using other data types. The most common approach is to use the tinyint data type, where 0 represents false and any non-zero value represents true. Some database systems also provide alternative representations such as using the bit, char(1), or even an enum.

To better illustrate this, let’s consider an example:

CREATE TABLE employees (
    id int,
    name varchar(255),
    active tinyint
INSERT INTO employees (id, name, active)
VALUES (1, 'John Doe', 1);
INSERT INTO employees (id, name, active)
VALUES (2, 'Jane Smith', 0);

In the above example, we have a table called “employees” with columns for id (integer), name (string), and active (boolean). As mentioned earlier, we represent the boolean value using the tinyint data type.

Querying Boolean Values in SQL

To query boolean values in SQL, you can use various operators such as equals (=), greater than (>), less than (<), and so on. Let's see some examples:

-- Select all active employees
SELECT * FROM employees WHERE active = 1;

-- Select all inactive employees
SELECT * FROM employees WHERE active = 0;

In the above examples, we use the equals (=) operator to filter records based on the boolean value of the “active” column. This allows us to retrieve specific subsets of data based on whether an employee is active or not.


Although SQL doesn’t have a dedicated boolean data type, you can still work with boolean values using other data types like tinyint, bit, or char(1). By understanding how boolean values are represented in SQL and using appropriate operators, you can effectively work with logical conditions in your database queries.

Remember, when working with SQL, it’s important to be aware of the specific data types used for representing boolean values in your database system. This knowledge will help you write accurate and efficient queries that handle boolean conditions correctly.

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